Links Course Manager returns to Gleneagles for Ryder Cup

Castle Course Manager Allan Patterson was Course Manager at the Kings and Queens before he joined the Links in 2005. He returned to his old stomping ground at Gleneagles to join the greenkeeping squad tasked with making the Ryder Cup a memorable experience for all.

I had the good fortune to be part of the volunteers that were selected to assist the full-time greenkeeping team at Gleneagles for the Ryder Cup.

The team of greenkeepers, gardeners and mechanics totalled around about 90 staff for the week. I had worked with several of the other volunteers at Gleneagles between 1994 and 2005, so it made the week extra special for me in getting to meet a few old faces.

Scott Fenwick, Golf Courses and Estates Manager and Steve Chappell, PGA Course Head Greenkeeper and his team did a fantastic job getting the course ready and in great condition for the week. Steve had the maintenance team split into four squads, each allocated different sections of the course. This worked extremely well. The teams rolled out at 5am to start course preparation using spot lights for the early holes as it was not light until around 6.30am.

I was allocated the job of being team leader for Team 2, who were responsible for preparing the practice facilities and holes 7 and 8. On the Friday morning it was an amazing sight to see thousands of people running at 6am from the bus park beside the 8th green trying to get to the 1st tee! The scale of the event and the atmosphere was way beyond what I had expected. I got to stand beside the 1st tee for all the singles matches on Sunday. The buzz and the “banter” between the fans and the players was great to see close up. I have never seen a golf hole completely surrounded by spectators. It was an incredible spectacle. To top off a very special week I was right behind the 15th green when Jamie Donaldson hit his 2nd shot stiff to the flag to win the Ryder Cup for Europe. I doubt I will ever be able to top that one.

Above: the 8th green of the PGA Course at Gleneagles.

It was an incredible event but what made it even more so for me was the fact I was able to share it with friends and colleagues who I have worked with in the past. Well done to everyone at Gleneagles for staging such a successful Ryder Cup and thank you for the opportunity to be part of it.


Words by Allan Patterson, Course Manager – The Castle Course

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